Alfa Romeo unveiled a new compact SUV, the Tonale, to slot underneath the Stelvio. The Alfa Romeo Tonale is, as would be expected from Alfa, a stunning vehicle with beautiful lines and active movement. We drove it for a week and think this upcoming 2024 model will smack onlookers straight in the face with its looks.
And the 2024 Alfa Romeo Tonale is a plug-in hybrid by default. So not only is it a looker, it’s also smartly efficient.
The Tonale (pronounced “toe-nall-ayy”) is a new entry level option for Alfa Romeo buyers. Pricing starts at about $44,500 plus delivery and this new crossover comes well-accoutered for that price. Especially considering its PHEV status and the high efficiency that brings.
The 2024 Tonale has a turbocharged 1.3-liter four-cylinder engine connected to a six-speed automatic transmission powering the front wheels. A 121-horsepower electric motor resides on the rear axle, making the Tonale all-wheel drive by default. Peak output is 285 horsepower overall and the electric motor means that the turbo lag normally associated with tiny turbocharged engines like this is moot since the electrics have full torque from the get-go to make up for it.
When fully charged, the 15.5 kWh battery pack in the 2024 Tonale has about 35 miles of all-electric range. A 50-amp (240-volt, level 2) charger can recharge the Tonale’s battery in less than three hours and a 120-volt household outlet will recharge it in about 7. This gives the Tonale enough all-electric range to be a daily commuter with almost no gasoline usage at all while retaining longer range driving via the gas engine when needed.
The Alfa Romeo Tonale includes drive modes to help further enhance efficiency or fun. Using the brand’s DNA wheel, the Tonale includes Dual Power (D), Natural (N), and Advanced Efficiency (A). The latter will force EV-only mode whenever possible while the first is the dynamic “I wanna go fast” engine and electrics together option. The middle N selection balances the two according to need.
Most of our driving in the Alfa Romeo Tonale was in A when around town and D when doing everything else. Once on the freeway and cruising, N was our sweet spot. Most drivers will likely stick with N for most everyday driving and only select the others when it really seems relevant. The majority of the time, the Tonale uses the electric motor to get going and then shifts to second gear to engage the engine after revolutions have gotten high enough to engage the turbo. That is a brilliant setup for a PHEV like this.
Selecting drive modes also changes the suspension in the 2024 Tonale. Basically they are firm or not firm. Using D will engage firm mode and the other two are more relaxed. Steering response also changes with each drive mode, being heaviest and most responsive in D.
The Alfa Romeo Tonale is a great-looking vehicle as well, especially in the vibrant green color we got to drive. The lines and design are very much related to those on the Stelvio, but simplified somewhat and less bulbous on this smaller machine. Where the Stelvio makes strength in its proportions, the Tonale makes speed instead. Fitting for a smaller SUV like this.
Inside, the interior is clearly from Alfa Romeo. The Tonale features a right-sized steering wheel and well-placed instruments. The start button is at the bottom-left of the wheel and the large aluminum shift paddles dominate the look.
Seating in the Tonale is good, but not top tier. Alfa trends towards sport-oriented rather than comfort-centric, so those expecting a luxury vehicle posh feel will be disappointed. The seats are, however, well-designed for cradling the driver and front passenger. The rear seats are adult-usable, but this is a compact vehicle, so they aren’t enormously spacious. Cargo is really well done, though, allowing a good variation of configuration for versatility. The sporty design of the Tonale means that the hatch is sloped, limiting vertical space, but not so much that it becomes useless.
Infotainment in the 2024 Alfa Romeo Tonale is nicely done. It’s not the most advanced or useful user interface on the market, but it’s functional and well considered. Thankfully, climate controls and other regularly-used functions have their own buttons beneath. That’s becoming rare in today’s large-screen world. Infotainment includes Apple CarPlay and Android Auto connectivity via wireless or wire and a wireless charging pad is standard.
Nearly every driver aid like adaptive cruise control, front and rear parking sensors, blind-spot warning, and lane-keeping assistance are also standard equipment on the Alfa Romeo Tonale. Setting it apart from others in the luxury compact segment, which often places many of these techs in the “pay more” pile.
Our overall impression of the 2024 Tonale is positive. It’s a well-done little SUV with piles of great looks and a good heart. Nicely done, Alfa.
This review originally appeared on DriveModeShow.com.